Managed Kubernetes services: How to pick the right one for you

Kubernetes has become a staple in the IT world and it’s still going strong. Kubernetes helps organizations jump on the microservices train and even though it’s an incredible container orchestration tool, it can still be very complicated. To run and maintain a Kubernetes cluster you need to have considerable domain experience. And even then, setting up the cluster and deploying it can be time-consuming. Once you set up the Kubernetes environment successfully, you have to constantly manage and monitor it. For some organizations, the cost and risk involved in maintaining a Kubernetes ecosystem outweigh the perks of implementing it in the first place. Building Kubernetes in-house, although cheap, can be very tricky and complicated. A small error during implementation can go undetected until the production and lead to disastrous consequences. A rework can lead to delayed deliveries that hurt the main reason several organizations want to adopt Kubernetes in the first place. This is where managed Kubernetes services enter the picture.

Managed Kubernetes services

Not only do managed Kubernetes services help deliver services with higher quality, but they also ensure your Kubernetes environment is flexible, highly available, safe, and efficient. Developers need the Kubernetes platform to be highly available. An in-house platform requires a whole team to ensure the availability and security of the platform constantly. Setting up a monitoring service on top of your platform can be even more daunting than setting the platform up, which means even more time is wasted before the operators can help the developers resolve their issues. For many organizations, it’s not just about setting up a working Kubernetes platform, they also need to set up CI/CD pipelines and Jenkins. All of this burdens the IT teams because they have to set up, implement, and manage several different services. Managed Kubernetes services can take care of managing and maintaining the Kubernetes environments. They also ensure the health of your clusters by constantly monitoring them and displaying several metrics on a unified dashboard.

A managed Kubernetes solution should be able to perform the tasks of management and operations of the control panel with efficiency. A managed service should be able to deploy a Kubernetes control panel quickly and allow customers to plug in their various environments with ease. An ideal solution should be able to update Kubernetes versions across all environments without any hiccups. A managed service should efficiently monitor all your clusters and provide a real-time view of the clusters’ health and try to resolve issues automatically. For issues requiring customer’s attention, an alert should be sent on time.

A look at managed Kubernetes services

Platform9

The managed Kubernetes service from Platform9 integrates with several infrastructures on cloud and on-prem. Platform9’s upstream master can be deployed to a variety of cloud providers and can be managed through a unified interface. Platform9 supports Google Cloud, bare metal, Azure, AWS, VSphere, and Nutanix AHV. Platform9 provides a serverless framework to write short-lived functions that can trigger events in your Kubernetes cluster. With Platform9, you get fully automated Day-2 operations. You get one-click upgrades without any service interruption. Platform9 also provides instant security patches that are applied across all your Kubernetes environments. Platform9 also constantly monitors all your clusters remotely and automatically heals any issues. Prepackaged dashboards let you monitor all your apps and clusters with ease. With Platform9, you get five-minute deployments with the integrations of your choice. Plugging in your existing clusters is also easy. Once you connect your cluster, Platform9 automatically discovers your infrastructure and starts managing it. Platform9 monitors your clusters even when they are down or disconnected.

GiantSwarm

GiantSwarm, like Platform9, delivers fully managed Kubernetes clusters that depend on standard Kubernetes APIs. GiantSwarm works regardless of where it’s hosted because it’s fully managed. GiantSwarm provides instant management to your Kubernetes environment to help you deliver faster. It helps developers focus on innovation rather than management. GiantSwarm also lets you deploy incremental updates several times a day. Similar to Platform9, it allows you to run your workloads in several different environments. GiantSwarm also helps ensure high uptime by continuous upgrades and efficient troubleshooting. It offers instant patches to ensure unfaltering security. GiantSwarm’s customers include Adidas, Vodafone, and Valliant. The API-driver platform allows you to create and scale clusters with ease.

Rancher

Although Rancher has its own container orchestration platform, it also offers an open-source Kubernetes management service. Rancher allows you to manage several clusters through a single interface. Rancher’s container-based installer Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) supports both cloud and on-prem deployments. Rancher lets you get to work without any in-depth knowledge of Kubernetes. Rancher ships with Grafana and Prometheus for detailed visibility into all datapoints. Rancher’s simple management allows you to have a security system and much more productive teams. Rancher aims to become a platform-agnostic tool as it allows users to import existing clusters built using our managed Kubernetes services.

Pivotal

Pivotal Container Service (PKS) is built for Day-2 operations. It allows you to deploy and run workloads on private and public clouds. PKS also monitors your clusters closely and performs regular health checks. With PKS, you can isolate different containers in a single cluster using network segmentation. Whenever a new service is encountered, it rapidly applies patches to keep your apps and clusters secure. You can also programmatically manage your virtual networks to ensure comprehensive security.

Managed Kubernetes servicesKublr

Kublr is another managed Kubernetes service that simplifies deployments across all your different environments. You can deploy clusters through Kublr UI or through APIs. Each time a cluster gets deployed, Kublr automatically connects it to log collection and the monitoring system. Kublr uses Prometheus and Elasticsearch to collect metrics and Grafana or Kibana to visualize your clusters’ metrics. Kublr’s Alert Manager connects to email, Slack, and Pagerduty to ensure an alert is never missed. Kublr also ensures cluster portability. A lightweight agent installed on each cluster performs setup and config and continuously monitors the health. Kublr also provides self-healing and self-orchestration.

Managed Kubernetes services: Press the ‘easy’ button

With the growing adoption of Kubernetes, the ecosystem of tools surrounding it is also bound to grow. Kubernetes can be complicated for new developers to use. And, without the right knowledge, creating and deploying clusters can become really expensive. Kubernetes can end up slowing things down instead of doing the opposite. Hence, there is a growing need to use tools that help get rid of the burden of doing everything. Managed Kubernetes services take care of all the activities with ease and they are still evolving. Having your own cluster is not just hard to build and deploy, it’s also hard to run and manage. These solutions help take care of upgrading the Kubernetes version and applying security patches as soon as possible. With excellent monitoring, you can keep track of your cluster’s performance. These tools also provide constant health checks that ensure your clusters are resilient and highly available. The aforementioned solutions are just some of the numerous services available in the market that help you get the best out of Kubernetes without having to put too much effort. Although all these tools perform the same job, the way they adapt to the constantly evolving Kubernetes is what will keep them from becoming obsolete.

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